Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The long run

For beginner long distance runners, the long run is terrifying.  Ok, the long run is terrifying to even non beginners too!  So, why do it?

Well, there are the obvious reasons like if you're going to run a half marathon you're going to have to run some long distances.  But, let's talk about what's really going on when we do long distance training.

There are several mental & physical benefits to the long run:
  • It trains the body to be more efficient at using energy stores 
  • Strengthens muscles & joints to handle stress of running
  • Teaches us runners to be patient.  Running 5, 10, 15 miles is going to take a while!
  • Teaches us how to handle the emotional stress & discomfort of extended mental & physical efforts.  
One thing that can make a long run absolutely miserable is going too fast.  Remember, this isn't the time to work on speed.  So, slow down - way down & enjoy your time outside.  Take in the scenery, enjoy a conversation with your friend if you're running with someone.  

One last thing.  Most people think they have to run the entire time.  Don't be afraid to do a bit of walking on your long run.  A 1 minute walk interval every 10 minutes or so can do wonders to our training, especially for beginners.

So what are you waiting for?  Get out there & enjoy your run!  

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